American Golf CEO hails ‘reset’ following shake-up at Warrington retailer

Nigel Oddy, new CEO at American Golf

A year since taking over as CEO at Warrington-based golfing equipment retailer, American Golf, Nigel Oddy is hailing a ‘reset’.

Unaudited results for the 2023/24 financial year show a slight increase in turnover, lower pre-tax losses, and a return to an EBITDA surplus.

The full audited annual figures won’t be filed until September, but an unaudited snapshot reveals revenues of £135.8m, up by £300,000, a pre-tax loss of £5.2m, compared with a pre-tax loss of £10.5m the previous year, and pre-exceptional EBITDA of £4.3m, representing a £5.7m turnround.

The business has also maintained its one-third share of the golf retail market.

Nigel Oddy said: “There is no doubt that 2023 was challenging for all retailers, including golf retail, as global and national factors impacted consumer spend and confidence.

“We listened to our customers and their feedback has helped inform our strategy for the years ahead.

“Due to the continued cost of living pressures, customers told us they were reducing their non-essential golf spend last year, but we were able to take action to leverage our core strengths – focusing on data, our own brand products, our omni-channel offering, and our relationship with third parties.”

He added: “American Golf has refocused on core retail, including our 88 nationwide stores, to put us in a strong position for FY 2024/25, with exciting plans for this year and onwards. We have a vision to become the ultimate one-stop destination for everything a golfer requires.”

American Golf introduced new services in FY 2023/24, including personalised golf products and gifts through the ‘My American Golf’ personalisation service, golf insurance with exclusive offers for American Golf Club Card members, and a free Winter Game Review to keep golfers engaged, practising and connected with the game during the winter months.

Using customer insight, a series of targeted campaigns ran over the year to reward core, loyal customers and engage with lapsed customers. This delivered record numbers of reactivated customers, up 19% against the previous year, and retention rate returned to a pre-Covid average.

The implementation of the new strategy saw sales increase by seven per cent in the fourth quarter of 2023 versus 2022. The online sales business also grew by more than four per cent for the full year.

This performance is in line with American Golf’s growth target of £8m+ EBITDA over the next three years.

International Leisure Group – which owns American Golf – appointed Nigel Oddy as CEO in April 2023. His experience includes 45 years in retail with 15 years at C-suite level. He has worked at some of the biggest brands in the UK Including Marks & Spencer, House of Fraser, The Range, New Look, and Matalan.

Also appointed to the board in 2023 was Elaine Wrigley who oversees Retail, Operations and People. Elaine has 38 years of experience with top retailers. Nigel and Elaine joined a board that includes chairman Richard Cotter, chief financial officer Simon Owers, chief commercial officer Stuart Middlemiss, and marketing director Scott Taylor

Nigel said: “We expect the golf market to continue to be challenging – however, we’re optimistic that we can continue to increase American Golf’s share of that market by focusing on our core strengths. Our reset has put us in a strong position as we make ambitious plans for the future of the business.”